15.02.2013 - 15.02.2013 30 °C
Friday, Feb 15. Waking up in Panama
Early rise - It is easy when it is 28 degrees outside. I expected bright sun this morning, but it seems shady. It turns out that we are on the shady side of a small mountain. After breakfast, we set out up the steep path for about 2 kilometres. There were some beautiful views: The high-rise part of Panama City rising out of the ocean seen between the trees. We continued till we reached the peak. We looked out over the canal, seeing many ships lying at anchor, waiting to enter the canal. The sun was now on the crest of the hill and it was beginning to get quite warm. We enjoyed a birds-eye view then we retraced our steps down to our villa.
We took a short time for cooling off by the pool, and then we went to explore the city below. Walking down a winding road, we encountered a few dead ends. I had to remember some of my Spanish to inquire which route would take us to "el centro del ciudad". We ambled along recalling spots that we had passed as we were driven here the previous night. After a long stretch, we came across a little market that appeared to be for tourists. Eldon hoped to find a cold beer, but I was interested to see what was being offered. I found some beautiful hand sewn molas. Molas are intricate, layered, appliquéd pictures showing animals or geometric shapes or popular culture. Kuna Indian in the San Blas Archiplago off the east coast of Panama credit their ancestors with creating their women's colourful clothing including molas. In my best Spanish, I asked the price. I did not bargain, as the work is beautiful and well worth the price asked. Kitcherie allowed me to take her picture.
We walked and walked, apparently through the neighbourhood of Bilboa, and La Boca (the mouth) of the canal. We found the container port, the dock and no place for a beer. Two hours of walking and we turned for home on the hill. Tomorrow we will explore some more, but we will head east and try for the old city of Panama and the canal. There is a great restaurant - not good for the food, but great to observe ships passing through the locks on the Panama Canal. I'm sure we will find those cool beer for the hot work of count ing ships going through the locks.
When we returned to our villa, we headed for the pool. Here we had a long chat with Craig from Minnesota and got tips about visiting Colon (other end of the canal) by train, going on to Porto Bella a fort from some years back. Other venues were also suggested and we will give them a try when my sisters and nephew arrive.